Cybersecurity and DevOps: the winding path to true friendship

Or just survive. This is all the more true as the development of new technologies and innovations is accompanied by new vulnerabilities that IT teams must face.

Development operations teams (DevOps), for example, while bringing greater flexibility to IT systems, have helped expand the attack surface. While an effective DevOps approach ensures fast and frequent development cycles (weeks or days), outdated security practices can neutralize the benefits offered by the most effective DevOps projects.

However, for over a decade this function has been separated from cybersecurity, which was added at the very end of the development process, when it should have been integrated from the start (DevSecOps).

Although the situation is not settled, and the collaboration between the two functions has increased over time, this is still a work in progress in which the main protagonists still get lost from time to time, with the result the emergence of vulnerabilities despite best efforts by both parties.

In today’s environment, where teams are more scattered than ever due to remote working, both parties should achieve mutual respect and find a common language if they are to achieve the same goal: protecting company assets and allow it to prosper. Otherwise, they could find themselves in a delicate situation.

The goal of security officials is to maintain security and stability. In contrast, DevOps relies on rapid development cycles, focused on flexibility, experimentation and adaptation to change.

Therefore, security is usually only considered in the later stages of software development, which limits the effectiveness of after-the-fact measures. In order for both teams to work effectively, collaboration is necessary early in the software lifecycle.

DevSecOps: the key to security

Typically, security teams detect vulnerabilities at the end of the software development lifecycle. This way of working often results in a slowdown in the go-to-market strategy and can lead to coding delays.

DevSecOps is the approach of integrating security practices into the DevOps process from the start. Security managers can change the way they work to accommodate security issues at an earlier stage in the development planning process.

By focusing on continuously preventing problems, rather than detecting them later, both teams work more effectively and efficiently.

Understand the role of containers in security

Containers are revolutionizing the way software is designed to dramatically speed up and simplify application development and deployment while reducing operational costs and fostering innovation.

On the other hand, containers can also create serious vulnerabilities in Cyber ​​Exposure. Containers have a short lifespan, can reach cruising speed and disappear within minutes, making them difficult to detect with traditional detection methods.

It is also difficult to assess the security issues associated with it, and corrective actions require the implementation of different strategies than the more traditional IT approach.

One of the key ways that security managers work with DevOps is to integrate vulnerability assessment and remediation into what are known as continuous integration and continuous deployment cycles. and Continuous Deployment – CI / CD).

This procedure ensures that all new container images are subject to security testing during the Quality Assurance (QA) phase of the DevOps lifecycle, along with other tests such as unit and unit testing. integration. The early integration of security into DevOps is a major asset for cybersecurity efficiency.

Test and automate where possible

Many organizations with strong DevOps processes generate dozens, if not hundreds, of software updates daily. In these environments, the use of manual processes makes monitoring security cumbersome and even impossible.

It is therefore preferable to automatically launch security tests at each design change or when new vulnerabilities are detected. Automation provides a high level of security in all areas of DevOps, not only as an integral part of a developer’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE), but also within the CI / toolchain. CD.

Proactive prevention trumps last-minute detection

When security is provided from within, it is more difficult for threat actors to enter. Therefore, proactively addressing and remediating vulnerabilities early in the development cycle saves time and money, compared to patching vulnerabilities at the production level.

The costs associated with fixing security vulnerabilities are typically two to three times higher post-release than with prior quality assurance testing. The old adage certainly holds true when it comes to safety: “prevention is better than cure”.

Evaluate and analyze current practices

Procedural guides are useful in creating a framework that ensures adherence to good practice. They prioritize simplicity, conciseness and reliability, as well as predictability and operational efficiency. At the same time, it is essential to develop a culture of best practices in security, for example by equipping experienced developers with the necessary tools.

These should be empowered to keep records of scans, deployments and coding methods to ensure strict adherence to best security practices. In addition, it is important that developers use approved software components and images from registries and repositories that have been tested and approved by the security team.

It is by forging that one becomes a blacksmith. By reviewing and evaluating these frameworks and processes at least twice a year, the team will be better able to address the complex concerns of DevSecOps.

Safety is everyone’s business

There is no doubt that the world we live in requires a certain speed to maintain our competitiveness in the market. As IT tries to keep pace and digital transformation takes hold, security teams and developers have no choice but to reinvent the way they think and collaborate.

This includes ensuring that the entire organization and its stakeholders are ready to accept their responsibility for cybersecurity.

The year 2020 brings its share of challenges for companies, as they face a period of turbulence on many levels. Cyber ​​security is no exception and represents a gold mine for cybercriminals in many industries.

Far too many companies have been taken by surprise and had to implement remote working practices virtually overnight. Risk is everywhere and cannot be ignored.

That’s why DevOps and cybersecurity must recognize that they are in the same boat and hold the helm together to prevent future attacks. This internal support will strengthen the company and guarantee both its stability and its productivity, even in times of storm.


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